Adhering to high standards and working hard to do one's best, well that's something else, and not defined by a joyless, obsessive drive to be perfect. In fact, working really hard at something you care deeply about in order to get it right is generally exhilarating! And usually accompanied by lots of trial and error as one figures it out. However, the ugly desire to control every last detail no matter how it affects others around us...well, that is something that shows me how much I fear being vulnerable.
Perfectionism is me berating myself for not blogging here for two weeks. No excuses are acceptable. Perfectionism demands that I come up with something innovative and crowd-pleasing every time I write a blog. Perfectionism checks how many hits I have on each post and gets dejected at low numbers. Perfectionism asks in a screeching voice: what did you do wrong? Perfectionism is no fun to be around. Honestly, I sit much easier in the realm of vulnerability than I do in perfectionism, but I still resist it many times.
Vulnerability not only accepts human limitations, but embraces things like an unexpected illness, printers running out of ink, forgetting to bring something to work, the interruptions of a neighbour or colleague, and getting rejection letters. Vulnerability doesn't freak out at these things; vulnerability says the Yes of acceptance, takes a deep breath, and then embraces the chaos in order that it might become a lovely, meaningful, and rich part of the tapestry of life. Vulnerable people are people who can trust others, who can take risks with joy, who love with freedom, who walk by faith, and who know that nothing is ever hopeless.
Perfectionism makes demands; vulnerability gives gifts. May I be a gift-giver, giving who I am and what I have been blessed with to the world.
 Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection. Hazeldon, 2010.